About ten days ago, I went on a short field trip with a few of our 8th grade Confirmation students.
We had some time to kill so we decided to head over to the Beacon of Hope, a men’s shelter in our town. We toured the facility and spent time talking with the director, Steve, the chaplain, Eric, and one of the men staying at shelter. It was a powerful experience.
Although the shelter is only a few blocks away from our church, I had never taken a full tour before. This is especially unfortunate because our church has been well connected to the shelter since its beginning. Members of our church serve on its board, we’ve helped with the some of the finances, and Steve has been involved in various ministries of our church in the past.
Even though I hadn’t spent much time in the shelter before last week, Steve was gracious and happy to spend time with us. And I’m thankful.
Steve told us the story about how the Beacon of Hope began as a vision of his just a few years back and how the shelter has grown. Throughout the story, it was abundantly clear that God has been at work through this ministry.
Steve organized the ministry and purchased the old Masonic lodge in town. The building needed extensive repairs and it has been transformed over the past three years. Churches, individuals, and organizations have pitched in to help the shelter become what its name states – a beacon of hope for homeless men.
Eric and Steve lived in different parts of the country and happened to get connected at just the right time in their lives so that they felt called to partner together in ministry at the Beacon. Their story of how God brought them together served as another example of God’s presence.
And it’s clear that God is in the work they are doing. Men’s lives are being changed. One man who lives at the shelter has joined our church, has quit smoking, and helps in a variety of volunteer positions in our church.
During our visit, we spoke with a young man who had dropped out of high school, gotten in trouble with the law, and didn’t have any goals in his life. Since moving into the Beacon, he’s given his life to Jesus, attends worship services daily, is working on his GED, has a plan for a career, and shares his testimony to local high school youth groups.
I haven’t been able to get our time at the Beacon out of my head. A question has nagged me: Where would we be if Steve hadn’t taken a risk to answer God’s call?
Where would Fort Dodge be? Where would our church member be? Where would this young man be?
I’m humbled when I think about the risk Steve took to open the Beacon. He gave up a life of comfort, security, income, and stability to start this shelter. For Steve’s life, faith and risk are inseparable. To be faithful to God’s calling meant that he would have to embrace risk.
Steve didn’t know if churches would financially support his ministry or if he’d be able to receive grant money. There was no way to know every cost in bringing the Masonic lodge up to code before spending significant time in it. He didn’t know if the homeless population in Webster County would even utilize a shelter.
But Steve had faith that God would work with his act of obedience.
If Steve had waited until there was no risk to begin his work, the Beacon of Hope wouldn’t exist.
I thank God that Steve embraced risk.
And I know there’s a vision that God has placed in your heart.
It excites you when you think about it, but it probably also terrifies you.
It will always be risky. Do something today that brings you one step closer to that envisioned future that God has for you.
Steven Pressfield, in his The War of Art, explains that the more resistance we feel, the more we know we’re on to something important. Something that we need to do. Something that the world needs us to do.
What God-ordained risk is calling your name? How can you embrace that risk today? What would your life look like if you followed through with that vision? Let me know below.